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Palin's Chicago Talk Takes Republican Political Battle to Obama's Backyard

Sarah Palin, speaking in President Barack Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois, called on Republicans to fight for electoral victories this November in places that have traditionally voted Democratic.

“The eyes of America are on this state,” she said. “If it can be done in Illinois, of course, it can be done anywhere.”

While the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee hasn’t said whether she’ll run for president in 2012, she’s stayed in the news with public appearances while traveling nationwide, giving speeches and promoting her memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

Palin, 46, didn’t recognize any Illinois Republican candidates by name as she spoke yesterday to more than 4,000 fans in a suburban Chicago theater.

“We’re looking for principled conservatives who won’t pull a bait-and-switch when they get to D.C.,” she said, predicting victory for her party in November’s elections.

“We will get there,” the former Alaska governor said. “God has shed his grace on thee.”

She said Obama won in 2008 by misrepresenting himself, and his popularity has fallen as Americans have gotten to know him better.

“He buffaloed a whole lot of good people,” she said. “But now, their eyes are opened because he today, finally, has something he didn’t ever have before -- he has an actual record in office.”

Palin and some political allies have criticized the Justice Department for advising some terrorism suspects of their rights to remain silent and to have a lawyer.

‘Sorry’ for ‘Far Left’

“I almost feel a little bit sorry for the president and those on the far left,” she said. “He expected us, I believe, to actually thank him for providing constitutional rights to terrorists.”

Palin said Obama is directing America toward a “European- style socialism with a European-style debt crisis right around the corner.”

Her appearance was sponsored by a Chicago radio station that features syndicated programming from Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller and other conservative commentators. Tickets sold through the Ticketmaster website ranged from $54 to $297.

Dan Nelson, marketing director for radio station WIND, declined to say how much Palin was paid.

Palin spoke earlier yesterday at a fundraising event for the Illinois Republican Party that was closed to news coverage. Ticket prices for that event ranged from $500 to $25,000.

Illinois Senate Race

Her Illinois visit brought with it political posturing and attacks in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat once held by Obama.

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 34, the Democratic nominee, criticized his Republican opponent, Representative Mark Kirk, for previously praising Palin and seeking her support.

“Mark Kirk may be keeping his physical or geographic distance from Sarah Palin,” Matt McGrath, a Giannoulias spokesman, said in a statement. “But if you look at what he says and where he stands when it comes to opposing and obstructing President Obama’s agenda, they might as well be walking arm-in-arm.”

Kirk, 50, a five-term congressman from Chicago’s northern suburbs, said this week that he wouldn’t be attending Palin’s Illinois events because he would be in Washington.

“I’m going to be voting,” Kirk said May 10 at a Chicago news conference. “She’s not a voter in Illinois, but we seek to add support from wherever we can.”

New Book

Palin’s plans include another book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag” which is scheduled to be released by publisher HarperCollins on Nov. 23. HarperCollins is a unit of News Corp., which employs Palin as a Fox News contributor.

In her home state, 41 percent of likely voters say they would vote for Palin if she ran for president in 2012, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll taken May 6.

The poll showed 48 percent wouldn’t vote for her, while 11 percent were undecided. The survey had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points.

A heroine of the Tea Party movement, which has protested federal deficits, growth of government, and Democratic health- care legislation, Palin has continued to keep a busy travel schedule. Later this week, she is scheduled to appear in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.

Last month, Palin headlined the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where she criticized the Obama administration’s plan for added offshore oil and gas drilling as insufficient to address energy needs.

‘Drill, Baby, Drill’

“Let’s drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall,” she said, reprising one of her lines from the 2008 campaign.

That was before the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast. BP Plc has struggled to control the leaking well, which has spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day.

Palin didn’t back away from that position in Illinois.

“We do have to drill, we cannot stall,” she said. “We do need oil. We might as well get it from here, where we do have stricter oversight and more concern for the environment.”

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Chicago at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

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